Storium Theory: Challenges: Simultaneous or Sequential?

This post originally appeared on Gaming Creatively on March 17th, 2016. I’ve written a fair amount about setting up a challenge in Storium, but thus far, I’ve only really discussed challenges from the standpoint of a single challenge–the intricacies of setting up one challenge, narrating about it, setting its points and outcomes, and so on. Today, I’d like to bring up the idea of multiple¬†challenges in the same scene–a common element of Storium¬†games, but one I haven’t much discussed so far. Using multiple challenges in the same scene is a good way to portray more complex or lengthy situations. A challenge can only use up to 9 points on its own, but if multiple challenges are used to address the same general situation, then...

Storium Theory: And I’m All Out of Bubblegum

This post originally appeared on Gaming Creatively on March 15th, 2016. Heroes need hero moments. There’s a tendency, when narrating in Storium (or when GMing, for that matter), to forget that–to make every challenge that the heroes face a serious danger to them and their cause–something that could not only go wrong, but go seriously wrong. For some genres, this actually works just fine. If you’re writing a story about normal people caught in a highly dangerous situation that they’re totally unprepared for, it’s appropriate for there to be severe danger at every turn. If the tone of your story is despair and dread, if things are supposed to look bleak from the get-go, or if the characters are pretty normal folks and don’t...

Storium Theory: Challenges That Matter

This post originally appeared on Gaming Creatively on March 10th, 2016. I’ve written quite a bit here on challenges in Storium. I’ve written about the mechanics of a challenge, the way to play cards on one, the way to set up a challenge with narration, and even a possible house rule about playing single cards at a time. Plenty more will come on the mechanics in the future, I’m sure. But right now, I want to discuss another part of challenges, something just as important…actually, probably quite a bit more important than the mechanical side of things, the setup of a challenge, or anything else involved in them. That’s…making challenges matter. It’s important to remember that what you’re doing when...

Storium Theory: House Rules: Single-Card Plays

This post originally appeared on Gaming Creatively on March 8th, 2016. I’d like to discuss something a little different today–rather than looking at an aspect of the Storium system itself, I’d like to look at the relative merits of a “house rule” of sorts–a requirement a narrator might impose on his game, outside of the general rules of the Storium system. As with any gaming system, narrators in Storium sometimes find that the rules as written don’t quite suit what they’re going for, or feel that they need to specify something extra to get play to work the way they’d like. Today, I’m going to write on one such rule that I’ve encountered: “Only single-card plays allowed.” My last post...

Storium Theory: Multi-Card Moves

This post originally appeared on Gaming Creatively on March 3rd, 2016. I’ve spent the last couple of posts discussing cardless moves…now, it’s time to dive back in to the cards. In Storium, you can play up to three cards in a single move (and, incidentally, up to three cards in a scene as a whole, which is used to limit the total narrative impact any one character can have in a scene). Sometimes, you might decide to play only one at a time, while at other times you might choose to play two or even three in a single move. This is actually a pretty major decision. In game system terms, the more cards you play on a single move, the less card-based moves you’re making in a scene, but the more that single move pushes the challenge forward in...

Storium Theory: Add Some Color with Cardless Moves

This post originally appeared on Gaming Creatively on February 25th, 2016. I spend a lot of time on this blog writing about how you can use Storium‘s system to support a good story. I write about setting up challenges, playing cards, choosing your cards, and all sorts of ways to use the system to guide your storytelling. But there’s something I’d like to discuss today that, in a way, is the inverse of that…an element of Storium‘s system that I haven’t much mentioned on the blog yet. Cardless moves. Storium does not require a card to be played when you make a move, so moves outside of the “challenge” structure are clearly possible. But…when should you make a move outside the challenge structure, and what should...